Sarah's Faith Story

My name is Sarah, and here is my story:

          I was raised in church and have been attending for as long as I can remember.   At age seven, during Vacation Bible School, I raised my hand along with other children my age, when the pastor led us in the prayer of salvation.   I went up with the others to speak with him, and I can remember saying yes to his questions and later being baptized with friends and family watching.
          I thought I was saved.  But I didn't feel any different, and I certainly didn't act any different.  I was far from understanding the importance that Christ actually died to save me.
          It took God eleven years to show me that I didn't really know Him.   Off and on, throughout those years, I struggled with the question that if I died today, where I would I go?

          In the last few weeks of Winter 2011, during the Upward basketball season, my sisters and I were asked to coach a team for the first time.   It was great; we had so much fun with our 3rd and 4th grade girls.  As usual, practice schedules and games were set up, and then came the church-wide call for testimonies to be shared during halftime at the games on Saturday.   I thought about it. But for some reason, now known to me, I didn't sign up.
          It was because I felt something wasn't right.
          The first of that year was extremely hard for me.  I was broken.
          My most frequent question in prayer was, “Lord, what's wrong with me?”
          I felt like I was falling apart.

          During this struggle, my family and I had begun to watch the Left Behind movies for the first time.   Watching those films really opened my eyes.  One scene in particular has stuck with me since then.  I think it was the first of the series, after the Rapture, where we find a pastor, the associate pastor of a church, standing at the pulpit talking to God in front of an empty congregation.
          He was saying, “I stood here. I preached Your word...” And he eventually comes to realize that he had lived a lie.
          I found that was me.
          I was the good Christian girl, always at church, always at Sunday School, never missed a day.  But I found that I was just going through the motions.  I wasn't all in.

          Fast forward a couple weeks to February 14th, Valentine's Day.  That night, my family was sitting in the living room finishing up our family devotions/worship time.
          I'd been sick with a cold or stomach virus a day or so before, still wasn't quite over it, but I remember sitting in the recliner going over and over in my mind just what exactly was going on in my life.   And finally, I told myself: “You have to get this right.”
          So, that night, when my siblings were in bed, I went to my parents and told them what I was feeling, that I was living a lie and I wanted to get it right.  They prayed with me and I asked my King to save me from the horror that I faced. He did.  And last summer I was baptized in the creek.

          It took eleven years for God to bring me to a breaking point.
          I almost missed it.   But I'm so glad He stuck with me.
          I could stand before you today and say with confidence that I know, that I know, that I know:  

I am a Christian saved by grace.

          In conclusion, I would like to end with a poem.  Though the words resemble me to the core, I did not write it, nor can I tell you who the true author is.  But I can tell you, through its simple words, I was truly blessed.

I Am A Christian”
When I say... “I am a Christian.”
I'm not shouting “I'm clean livin'.”
I'm whispering “I was lost,”
Now I'm found and forgiven.

When I say... “I am a Christian.”
I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble
And need CHRIST to be my guide.

When I say... “I am a Christian.”

I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak
And need HIS strength to carry on.

When I say... “I am a Christian.”
I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed
And need God to clean my mess.

When I say... “I am a Christian.”
I'm not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible
But, God believes I'm worth it.

When I say... “I am a Christian.”
I still feel the sting of pain,
I have my share of heartaches
So I call upon His name.

When I say... “I am a Christian”
I'm not holier than thou,
I'm just a simple sinner
Who received God's good grace, anyhow.

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